Thank you for joining us at the online home of Canada's “university of the imagination,” located in the vibrant city of Toronto, the cultural capital of Canada. OCAD University is the single largest and most comprehensive independent art, design and media university in Canada. Inspired by the value of a specialized education, Canadian artists founded this institution in 1876. Today we continue to draw from our legacy of the Group of Seven, decades of design inventions such as the current Canadian flag, and from almost 140 years of ground-breaking achievements by faculty and alumni.
At OCAD University we focus on studio-based learning, placing value on creative, aesthetic and technical practice. Students also gain rich theoretical, scientific and historical knowledge. OCAD U offers six undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design degrees, across all of the art and design disciplines; an interdisciplinary Digital Futures Degree (BFA or BDes); a BFA in Indigenous Visual Culture and an Honours BA in Visual and Critical Studies. Minors and specializations such as Digital Painting & Expanded Animation and Publications offer depth and interdisciplinary breadth. We are the proud home of six niche graduate programs, which culminate in a Master of Arts, a Masters of Fine Arts or a Master of Design. Our campus extends from McCaul to Richmond Street West and includes the iconic Sharp Centre for Design, designed by Will Alsop.
OCAD U has forged strong ties with industry leaders in the design, gallery, creative, media, information and communication technology sectors; in healthcare, sustainable technology and social enterprise; offering students experiential learning at school and in the community, as well as abroad. The Imagination Catalyst is a hub of entrepreneurship training and company incubation open to alumni, students and faculty. This has positioned us as a key player in Ontario’s innovation economy as well as Canada’s and resulted in jobs for our graduates.
As well as our historical focus on art, design, media and cultural theory, OCAD University bridges these fields, addressing the world’s most compelling challenges in sustainability, social change, health and wellness, and cultural diversity. We do this through cross-disciplinary practice-based research within OCAD U and in concert with industry, not-for-profit, university and college partners, at home and abroad.
Our alumni are independent artists and designers who lead firms and are successfully employed professionals. They also serve as leaders in business, social enterprise, research labs and government. Here are some of my thoughts on the value of art, design and media education as expressed on The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.